Dairy calves experience many challenges in early life, and producers need to be diligent in the hours and days after birth to ensure calf health and reduce mortality. Overall, research shows that eight percent of calves die within 48 hours of birth — this includes those born dead or those that die within the first… Read More

Lameness is the dairy industry’s leading and most visible animal welfare concern. It’s also among the top three health challenges, along with mastitis and reproductive problems. Veterinarian Dr. Laura Solano, dairy cattle extension specialist at Calgary, Alberta-based Farm Animal Care Associates, says that despite the negative impacts to lameness, studies show that 15 to 30… Read More

Milking with single-box automated milking systems (AMS) has revolutionized the way dairy producers manage their herds. Current estimates indicate that 10 percent of the Canadian dairy herd are now milked by automated systems, and it’s growing. Globally, nearly 30,000 farms employ robots, according to a 2014 survey. Much of the conversation around dairy robots focus… Read More

Lameness can have a significant impact on a dairy cow’s health, longevity, and productivity. Are dairy farmers doing a better job preventing lameness on their farms than they have in the past? What risk factors can producers better manage to reduce lameness on their farms? Those are questions University of Calgary graduate student Michelle van… Read More

When are dairy cows in the black? In financial terms, cows typically hit profitability in their second lactation, but too many cows don’t make it to the break-even point, says University of Calgary graduate student Jesse Schuster. Last week at the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar (WCDS) at Red Deer, Alberta, Schuster shared findings from a study of CanWest DHI… Read More

Can robots effectively milk cows on large U.S. dairy farms? That’s a question Plymouth, Indiana farmer Brian Houin is determined to answer at his family-owned Homestead Dairy operation. Canadian farmers have had tremendous success using robot milkers in smaller dairy operations, but Houin is putting the milking machines to the test on a whole new level. In… Read More

In the words of country music star Keith Urban: “It’s going to be a long, hot summer.” That’s according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose recent global report states 2018 is shaping up to be the fourth hottest year on record. 2016 remains in the top spot for the hottest year with… Read More

Water quality can affect animal welfare and the financial bottom line long before visual symptoms start to appear. “It never bothered them before” is an often-heard refrain when the welfare of animals is impaired by poor water quality. “We just can’t determine the quality of water by just looking at it,” explains Leah Clark of… Read More

Semex, a Canadian-based, farmer-owned cattle genetics company, and Recombinetics, a gene-editing company, have formed an alliance to bring hornless dairy cattle genetics forward through the use of TALENs technology. TALENs involves very precise gene editing that makes small adjustments to the genome of an animal to delete, repair, or replace individual elements of DNA. Because dairy cattle breeds… Read More

Better cow comfort can deliver a host of benefits for both the animal and the milk tank. Improving overall cow health, increasing cow longevity, and putting more milk in the tank are all byproducts of cow comfort. Dairy equipment suppliers are also focusing on the growing impact of heat stress, and French manufacturer Bioret Agri… Read More

Recently, a dairy company out of Wisconsin rolled out its latest marketing campaign, claiming “Organic grass-fed milk is more nutritious. It’s science.” Well, there is good scientific evidence that the composition of milk from cows fed dry hay or fresh forage is higher in omega-3 fatty acids versus cows fed ensiled feed. But, does the… Read More